Major Problems in American History: to 1877 Essay

5615 Words Apr 8th, 2012 23 Pages
Major Problems in American History Volume I: to 1877; 3rd ed.
Chapter 2: The Southern Colonies in British America
Introduction
* April 26, 1907 – group of ships bearing 128 men sailed into the Chesapeake Bay; began the settlement of Jamestown --►first successful plantation in the Americas * English had attempted to establish colonies in locations as varied as present-day Maine and Virginia --►but all had failed * Colony’s early years were horrific * Colonists were more interested in finding precious metals than feeding themselves * They encountered a variety of new diseases in the swampland in Jamestown * Many were gentlemen who felt it below their stations to clear fields or build stockades (barriers) *
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In the seventeenth century indentured servants—not slaves from sub-Saharan Africa—formed the primary labor force in the southern colonies, where the work on plantations could be physically grueling. At any given time, up to seventy-five percent of the entire white population was indentured, and it is estimated that approximately one-half to two-thirds of all the European colonists to the Chesapeake region arrived as indentured servants during the seventeenth century. Like slaves, their contracts could be sold; unlike slaves, indentured servants would be free at the end of their term of service, many hoping to acquire the land that was often promised to them. In his 1623 letter to his parents in England, Frethorne describes the appalling, near inhuman conditions under which these peoples served and existed. With an extremely high death rate at times topping 60 percent, many did not live to see their dream of becoming independent yeoman farmers. * “ as I myself am at the making hereof, this is to let you understand that I your Child am in a most heavy Case by reason of the nature of the Country is such that it Causeth much sickness, as the scurvy (a disease marked by swollen and bleeding gums, livid spots on the skin, prostration, etc., due to a diet lacking in vitamin C) and the bloody flux [dysentery], and

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